St. Patrick's Day and Irish Monkey

St. Patrick is the most recognized patron saint of Ireland. March 17, 461 is the date of his death and every year St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday in Ireland. Festivities are held not only in Ireland but in a lot of Cities around the world. In Ireland, celebrations have become more of festivities featuring Irish culture instead of the teachings and life of St. Patrick. St. Patrick's Day also brings in images or shamrocks, leprechauns, drinking and the color green. The shamrock is associated with St. Patrick since it is said that he used the shamrock to explain to the Irish the Holy Trinity. Green is not actually the color of St. Patrick, but blue. Green came from the color of shamrocks, and this color became associated with St. Patrick day. The leprechaun, who is typically presented wearing green, comes more from Irish culture than with St. Patrick. The same is also true for drinking, which Irish are very famous for.

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Besides Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is hugely celebrated in the United States as well, most specially in cities where there are many Irish immigrants like Boston, Chicago and New York. In fact, the first St. Patrick's Day parade was done in New York City and not in Ireland. This happened in March 17, 1762 when Irishmen who were part of the English army paraded and played Irish music. Today, the St. Patrick's Day parade is the largest in the whole United States and is the oldest civilian parade in the world.

A lot of Irish immigrants came to the United States came to the United States in 1845 when Ireland suffered from the Great Potato Famine. These Irish immigrants mostly came from catholic farming families and were initially frowned upon by Protestant Americans. This was mainly because of their Irish accents and of their catholic religion and practices.

When these Irish immigrants, who were now American citizens, were seen celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the streets of different cities in the United States, many newspapers had cartoons and editorials featuring the Irish as drunken monkeys. This is where the term Irish monkeys came from.

The Irish are well known as heavy drinkers, and they have many alcoholic drinks and cocktails associated with them. One of them is the Irish Car Bomb or the Belfast Bomber. Another drink named after the Irish is the Irish Monkey.

The Irish Monkey is a simple cocktail drink consisting of banana liqueur and Bailey's Irish cream. The banana liqueur represents the monkey part and Bailey's the Irish part of the drink.

A typical recipe for an Irish Monkey cocktail is:

  • 1 ounce of Bailey's Irish cream
  • and half an ounce of banana liqueur

The banana liqueur is first poured in a shot glass and then topped with the Bailey's Irish cream. Then a person drinks everything in one whole shot.

There are now other drinks that have been based on the original Irish Monkey. Some have added some ingredients into the mix, and others are completely different from the original.

One variation of the Irish Monkey is the Irish Monkey Martini. The drink is made up of:

  • a banana slice
  • a quarter ounce of Irish cream
  • quarter ounce of rum
  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • and some ice

To prepare the drink, the rum and vodka and ice are mixed in a shaker and then poured in a martini glass with a banana slice at the bottom. The Irish cream is poured into the martini glass right before serving.

Another drink is called the Dirty Monkey, and this one has no banana in the recipe. The Dirty Monkey consists of:

  • 1.5 ounces of cognac
  • 1.5 ounces of Irish cream
  • and 1 ounce of dark rum

All of these are mixed, never stirred, and served in a brandy snifter. There is also the Green Monkey shooter, which is a combination of half an ounce of banana liqueur and half an ounce of green Creme de Menthe served in a shot glass.

There is also a coffee drink called the Cheeky Irish Monkey, which is an Irish coffee preparation claimed to have been created by a college student who was on a very tight budget. A Cheeky Irish Monkey is prepared by heating 6 ounces of chocolate milk, then adding 2 shots of Starbucks Espresso. After the mixture brews, a half shot of Irish Cream is added and the drink can be served with whipped cream on top.